27 February 2013 22:04 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US February acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract prices gained 5-8 cents/lb ($110-176/tonne, €85-136/tonne) from the previous month on feedstock pressure, market sources confirmed on Wednesday.
The increase moved glacial acrylic acid (GAA) to a new range of $1.19-1.23/lb, as assessed by ICIS. US acrylates gained a total of 7-10 cents/lb over the January-February period.
Although weak conditions including soft demand and ample supply have persisted for most of the first quarter, a producer said demand has begun to strengthen – possibly from some pre-buying – but is still weaker than usual from the coatings segment for the period leading up to the US painting season.
The spring coatings season has been inhibited by severe weather including a blizzard accompanied by hurricane-force winds across the northeast earlier this month.
In the meantime, the three major US producers have proposed contract increases of 6-7 cents/lb, effective 1 March, with one seller citing higher manufacturing costs stemming from more expensive feedstock.
Among feedstock, February chemical-grade propylene (CGP) recently settled up by 6 cents/lb, moving the price to 77.5 cents/lb. Sources said the increase stemmed from a stronger spot market and tighter supply in January, although the upward momentum stalled at the beginning of February.
The sixth straight monthly propylene increase was prompted by tightened supply stemming from several unexpected cracker outages in January and low production of refinery-grade propylene (RGP).
The US oxo-alcohols 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and n-butanol (NBA) markets were steady, with March likely to bring another round of price increases on demand and higher material, energy and freight costs.
($1 = €0.77)
For more on acrylates, visit the ICIS Plants & Projects database
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